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My name is Michael Vladimir Nicolayeff. I've been working in the creative industry since 2006, mainly making 3d graphics for VR. I don't put much of that into this thread, however: I use this sketchbook mainly for studies, sketches, and general life drawing.
When I started this sketchbook at the end of 2011, I felt I'd been stranded on a plateau. Since then I've redoubled my efforts and have seen some major improvements in my color use and ability to depict volume. I still have a lot to learn.
Now my main goals here are to get better at environments, landscapes, industrial design, perspective, anatomy, and especially storytelling.
I'd like to be able to communicate something further about the subject than merely what it looks like. If I create a robot, it should be clear what it's made of and what it could be used for. If I create a person, they should broadcast their personality through their clothing, face, and body language, and appear to be a unique individual. And with an environment, I should be able to indicate something about the people that work or live there. I want to create fantastical things that could exist within the rules of their own universe.
If you'd like, leave some feedback. I'm also open to trading critiques.
I also run a small drawing group in Santa Barbara, CA[/B][/center]
Last edited by SmallPoly; February 14th, 2014 at 09:51 PM. Reason: Modifying thread thumbnail
Thanks! That should be easy enough - when I'm working on the thumbnails I use a higher resolution.
Here are some larger versions:
Hey yoh This is a nice sketchbook you got going. The value studies of color and light are unique. The sketch book panoramics are awesome. The overall layout of everything is very clean. I like that you credit the photographer below the thumbs.
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Amazing work! Those step by step shots were really helpful btw, thanks
I've been messing around a bit with doing studies from movies. I don't recommend doing that with anything you haven't already watched since if you're interested in a story you don't want it stopping every 5 minutes for 10 minutes of unrelated stuff.
In this case I did some rough stills from "The Mechanist". It has a lot of mistakes so it seems like I should spend more time on the next one. I might do something similar with the game "Limbo" later.
I've also been watching some video tutorials by concept artsists Feng Zhu and Xia Taptara (IDrawGirls). It makes me think I should do some studies of John Singer Sargent's work.
I've also been doing a few more observational landscapes in my sketchbook. I'll upload them when I get a chance.
Movie frame studies, at apx. every 10 minutes:
Based on some things I was seeing in Xia Taptara's videos, I did some sketching with a very flattened soft brush.
Also, here's a random thing from August, since I felt it had purdy colors.
Thank you for your advice. I will be doing more value studies.
I'll also be happy if you have time to give me more advice
How comes that in your movie studies all but the last one seems to be cut in half by the composition. I suppose this was done to achieve some effect, or am I just imagining things? (I haven't seen the movie)
These little color sketches are cute, especially the one with the red critter.
Hi Leysan, the scenes from The Mechanist are fairly accurate to how it looked in the movie, other than color & value issues.
Lately I've been working on doing frame by frame animation, though currently nothing worth showing. I'm considering participating 11 Second Club competition. Previously I've done some basic character animation for work in 3ds Max, but haven't done much hand-drawn work. We'll see how things go.
Today I did another still life of some apples. I got a few odd comments from coworkers seeing my still life setup during lunchtime, but I guess that's to be expected. This time I started out in color, trying to keep things fairly saturated. I was attempting to do local color first, then control the value. After a little while I found I was struggling with too many elements at once, so I used a luminosity layer to adjust the value with another layer up top to desaturate everything. That way I could focus on fixing the values without being distracted by color inaccuracies. I think I'd like to try using an underpainting method next time.
My girlfriend arrived two hours earlier than expected, so the bottom one is somewhat rushed.
Here's the painting:
Also, here's how I'm setting up my still lifes at the moment:
Last edited by SmallPoly; November 18th, 2011 at 03:07 AM.
love your style. Feng Zhu does rock, I love his videos, I want to go to his design school.
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@Obacmar: Thanks! I hope I can be somewhere near his level eventually.
A couple more still lifes from observations. I wanted to practice from platonic forms today to get a better idea of how light falls on faceted models, so made a few papercraft ones from cardstock. Pdfs were from here.
Also did a distorted sketch of a beer bottle.
Last edited by SmallPoly; November 22nd, 2011 at 01:24 PM. Reason: Image was larger than intended.
So I think doing these still lifes have been helping my rendering ability. I'm still having difficulty with color but I think my control over value is getting better and I'm finding it easier to do things in a way that looks more polished. Better blending and edge control maybe. I definitely need to do more of them, and probably some self-portraits too.
A landscape from last night. I think I'm getting a little more comfortable with landscapes, though things are probably still going to be fairly abstract for a while. I guess I like the freedom that staying abstract provides:
And a monster WIP thing. It's somewhat in response to one of the daily sketch topics: DSG 1626: Creature • CREEPY FACELESS BEAST HAS TATTERED, RUSTING, FLESH. The concept is a sort of mix between a rotting/mutating zombie and an alien parasite that has taken over the body of a pregnant woman. For this one the main goal is rendering disturbing imagery in a detailed way. You can see my rough thumbnail version in the lower right:
keep up the studies man
have a good one
sketchbook updated October 6th
Some more spartan camp sketches. Theme this time was varying body types. I've had some interest late in doing some studies of deformities and people with tumors after reading up some things on Jose Mestre, aka The Man Without a Face. There's a sketch of him in this set.
Working from a laptop tonight that stuggles to create a 3px line in photoshop, but fortunately Alchemy works just fine.
I try to improve my workflows now and then, and generally take some rough notes as I'm doing it. While I'm no match for some people here, I figure others may still learn something. I'm not writing formal tutorials here, so expect this post and any similar ones to be very unpolished.
I'm messing around with thumbnailing for comics and storyboards tonight.
No detail in initial thumbnails
When working on thumbnailing, it takes too much time to detail when blocking. Blocking should be loose and free. Instead, I can use simplified versions of characters. Iconic versions. Possibly color coded.
Some over-detailed example thumbnails from a fake comic, and simplified versions of the same sequence:
Complex version vs simplified ones:
You don't have to draw the whole character to get the poses down. Block the story with simplified versions, then go back and fill in more complex details in the later sketches.
Example of "complex" characters with simplified versions that could be used for thumbnailing:
Color coding simplified characters can help make them read better, especially when small or among crowds. Characters may need to change depending on what characters are around them. This should not be done in the same sequence. Some cartoons and comics use this concept in the final art and sometimes go so far as to ensure each character has a unique skin color and clothing palette.